The new Carić winery tasting room is very handy for us – just a short walk across the bridge in the heart of Vrboska! We’re turning into regulars here, and it’s been great watching a run-down old building evolving into an attractive, traditionally-styled konoba tasting-room. Owners Ivo and Ivana Carić have put in many hours of hard work, and they can be very proud indeed of their new winery premises! For the 2016 summer season season, they’ll be open daily from 10:00am til 5:00pm (except Sundays), offering a fine selection of wine-tastings and food pairings.
We visited in early May with the Blue Danube team, who import Carić wines into the U.S.A.. Our quest was to try the recently-bottled new vintages. With traditional Dalmatian hospitality, we were treated to a lovely lunch, prepared by Ivo Carić himself. For the moment, hot food is not part of their standard offering, at least not until there’s a proper kitchen installed, but one day we hope to report that the konoba is open with a wider menu than simple Dalmatian appetizers.
Well, I say simple, but the food-pairing snacks are really something special! Carefully selected regional cheeses are matched with fig cake, anchovies, olives and some particularly tasty tomato marmelade and other authentic island products made by the ladies of the Ženska Zadruga Faria. There’s even a chocolate and wine pairing too, with figolinis, levanda and carob choccies – yummy!
Moving on to the wines, first up we have the 2015 Bogdanjuša, one of my favourite light summer wines. This year is a fine example, very light and floral, with herbs and bright acidity. May be even better than last years!
Then we have the Cesarica, a blend of Bogdanjuša, Maraština and Parč. This is also a light wine, at only 11.5% alcohol this year, but with more breadth of flavour than the single varietal Bogdanjuša. Overtones of citrus and juniper.
Rosé Marino is made from Plavac mali grapes, and is a full-bodied rosé in the Dalmatian tradition. At only 12.8% alcohol, It’s a good choice for those warm summer evenings.
And so to the reds… Jubo’v is a blend of Plavac mali, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah from terraces around Svirče on the north side of the island, 14.2% alcohol. More fruit-forward than a single Plavac, and combines the characteristics of Bordeaux, Burgundy, and Dalmatian varieties for an excitingly different wine.
A new addition to the Carić range this year is an entry-level Plavac from the 2010 harvest, from a new vineyard on the southern slopes around Zavala. At 14% alcohol, this is a rather lovely, well-balanced south-side Plavac that you could drink a lot of!
The Carić classic Plovac Ploški (blue label) is earning quite a reputation for itself! Now featured in the best restaurant in Holland (De Librije, 3 Michelin stars), who actually created a special dish to pair with it! From the south slopes around Ivan Dolac, this is a quinessential Hvar wine with flavours of the sea, the herbs and the rocks. The 2010 harvest is a fine example of this consistent top-quality wine.
At the top of the range, the Plovac Ploški Barrique (brown label) is made from selected grapes, also around Ivan Dolac, and aged for 2 years in oak casks. In addition to the superb qualities of the blue label Ploški, it has the subtle overtones of the oak. Well-balanced flavours and tannins, the 2010 is proving to be a fine year for the barrique!
Many thanks to the Carićs for an excellent lunch and wine-tasting, followed by a tour of the south-side vineyards. That road up through the Ivan Dolac vineyards was pretty bouncy and scary, and I have greatest respect for all the wine growers who tend their vines on that rocky slope up high above the sea! See May in the Vineyards of Hvar for some photos from that trip.
You can also taste Carić wines every Thursday evening through the summer season in Jelsa, as part of the Hvar Winemakers’ Association evenings of Hvar wine-tasting and live music!
Carić wines are available for purchase online in the United States from Blue Danube Wines